According to A List Apart, “sign-up forms must die“. Now, when I read that my first thought was – I agree. I find myself often going to a website just to browse around or read an article but find that I cannot do so without filling out a sign-up form. What does that prompt me to do? It makes me move on to the next website and browse elsewhere.
To quote the author of this website –
I’ll just come out and say this: sign-up forms must die. In the introduction to this book I described the process of stumbling upon or being recommended to a web service. You arrive eager to dive in and start engaging and what’s the first thing that greets you? A form.
We can do better. In fact, I believe we can get people engaged with digital services in a way that tells them how such services work and why they should care enough to use them. I also believe we can do this without explicitly making them fill out a sign-up form as a first step.
I certainly agree with the above quote. I agree that showing a potential customer or visitor what services you have to offer, if nothing more than a sample, will entice them more to stick around if interested and be more than willing to fill out a brief form to sign up.
The article, “Sign Up Forms Must Die” is a very interesting read. The view is mainly from a user standpoint and does not really discuss the views or impacts from a business perspective. One comment (#10) in the discussion forum from the article makes a very good point from a company perspective –
I notice that you are giving opinions from the user perspective only and thought I could give a company perspective on this. A web application I created a couple of years ago (www.ausrackid.com) went through this thought process. Ausrack ID allows IT pros to configure 19” racking systems in a visual way, save print out the results, and get quotes from the company I work for. I chose having no sign up until the user decides they want to save, at which point you are asked for username and email address, if they want a quote for items they get asked for more details. This is quite a way through the process. I was advised to put in a signup process at the front end to allow us to collect information on the users which we could potential use for emailing info. I resisted this at the time, and still do today. However, for the first year, the site was getting significant traffic, and significant usage, but very few people were saving their design, or asking for a quote. As the site needs to fund itself, it was very difficult to justify it’s existence at this stage, and the whole project was almost pulled. I think the moral of the story is that your user details have a value, and giving those to a website you use may be the only way they can stay afloat. Think of YouTube, they can justify their existence by the data provided by the number of users. That is why Google bought them. At the smaller scale my advice would be if they ask for it, and you want to use the service, give them your details, it might just help them survive in a competitive world.
Great point. So how do you create the ultimate user experience, get the data you need to remain competitive, and create a win-win for all?
Read the full article here and share your thoughts.
Filed under: Applications, Marketing Tagged: | business, Comment, Competitive, Customer Experience, customers, Environment, Form, Internet, Product Management, Sign-up, social networking, Technology, Usability., Web Browsing